28 October 2007

Indian Summer

23 October 2007, Tuesday, around 930am (though not transcribed here 'til Sunday 28Oct):

After a week of October rain - at least 7 or 8 inches worth - an Indian summer rambled on to the north coast. The rain (and a bit of work) had kept me off the beach most of the week, but following a day when the sun glared down and temps reached a near unheard of 80 degrees...on the beach!...I had to get out for a while.

Unlike yesterday though, the morning was cool. A steady, soft breeze came in from then north, over the tops of the waves. The sky cloudless and glowing bright blue.

I wandered to the creek's mouth from the south end of the estuary. A flock of maybe 40 Canada geese honked a noisy escape when I approached, leaving behind only a smattering of dark duck-like water birds that I couldn't identify cuz of sun glaring off the placid backwater.

Even from this distance, I can see the mouth of the creek has widened since last week. Pacific waves roll through the gape deep into the estuary. The narrow 50-foot channel that opened just a week ago is now closer to 50 yards across. The sand bar has been obliterated, the shoreline now a steep 4-foot cliff, eroding gradually between each push and pull of ocean and river. A half dozen harbor seals and a couple of gulls coast in the roiling waters between ocean and river.

The water at this junction of Pacific and Redwood Creek runs in every direction. There is constant noise standing here at the edge. The crashing surf is almost drowned out by the whooshing sounds of river pushing its way forward. The flush of the main creek channel is clearly visible, a steady boulevard of blue water parting the undulating white run-up of the sea.

There is an amazing amount of water here. That has to sound fairly inane as I stand on the edge of the world's biggest ocean, but you feel the power of the water, indeed of the earth standing in a spot such as this. Not a quiet spot where nothing happens - except in an egocentric human life perspective - but an ever-living, moving, and changing, transmogrifying eternal place. I'm reminded of a sappy line in a Disney Pocahontas song, something about how a foot never enters the same river twice.

A sudden shift in the breeze raises the temperature noticeably. Now from the west, from over the hills, it warms quickly. (We'll eventually get back to the mid-70s later in the day.)

I turn my attention away from the creek to the silver beach and surf. Seagulls sit atop the waves, lifting briefly as the waves crest and break, or floating up and over the curving tops before the crash. There is a lot of organic material - brown leaves, twigs, small branches - in the surf today, coloring the green-blue of the waves.

We still have pelicans, though most only visible through the binoculars, feeding maybe a half-mile off-shore. Now and then, small clusters of pelicans soar by, surfing the tops of the waves. Western and California gulls plod in the sand nearby, but none of the gray Heerman's gulls.

Hasta la proxima.

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